and troops and sailors darted ahead, vieing with each other in the attempt to reach the parapet; the sailors advancing along the beach, and the troops further to the right, against the palisades.
The large guns of the fort were so injured that they could not be used against the national columns, but the garrison, stiff and benumbed with their long imprisonment of fifty hours, came out of the bomb-proofs to resist the charge.
The sailors and marines, two thousand in number, were under the command of LieutenantCom-mander Breese
, and had already worked their way, by digging ditches, to a point within two hundred yards of the fort.
The plan was for the marines to remain in the ditches, and act as sharpshooters to keep the garrison from the parapet, while the sailors made the assault.
But the marines did not go close enough for their work; and, on rushing through the palisades which extended from the bastion to the sea, the head of the column received a murderous fire.
The parapet now swarmed with troops who exposed themselves with reckless gallantry.
At this juncture, had the marines performed their duty, every rebel on the sea face would have been either killed or wounded.
But the marines scarcely fired at all, or with no precision.
Nevertheless, the officers and sailors in the lead pressed on, and some even reached the parapet, while many gained the ditch or counterscarp.
But the advance was swept from the walls like chaff, and, in spite of all the efforts made by commanders of companies, the men in the rear, seeing the slaughter in front, and that they were not covered by the marines, began to retreat.
In a moment